Essay about Dissociative Identity Disorder

Submitted By annamariascott
Words: 988
Pages: 4

Dissociative Identity Disorder Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as DID and formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a mental illness that is classified as the shifting or transitioning of alternate personalities within the mind. Dissociation is defined as the disconnection or separation of something from something else or the state of being disconnected. The behaviors of a DID patient exclude those of individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In children it is not attributable to imaginary playmates or other roleplaying. Rather, this disorder is often caused by abuse in children and is a life-long affliction if not treated.
Caused by abuse, DID can take root in a child at as young an age as five. It is five to nine more times common in women and is rarely diagnosed outside the United States, which leads to controversy over diagnosis. Statistics show the rate of dissociative identity disorder is .01% to 1% of the general population Dissociative Identity Disorder serves as a way of coping with abuse because it creates an escape from the situation. Creating an alternate personality to take on the abuse and other unpleasant or stressful aspects of a person’s life may be extremely useful to him. However, as useful as it may be, it leads to unfortunate consequences such as memory repression and time loss. This time might never be made up for or remembered, as DID is not extremely treatable. DID became a popular diagnosis between the 1970s and 1990s. There is speculation as to whether this is because more people had it, or if doctors were just becoming more aware and better recognizing the symptoms. Symptoms include changing levels of functioning, ranging from highly to barely functional, severe head and body aches, depression and mood swings, changes in each or sleep patterns, amnesia, hallucinations, self injury, depersonalization, and self injury. This particular disorder is treatable for some, but not others. Treatment options include therapy, which involves a professional speaking with each alter and determining what purpose each one serves, and trying to create unity within the mind. The healing and recovery process really begins when a patient accepts that they cannot change the past, and is taught proper coping skills. There are no specific medications for the ailment, but other drugs can be used to treat it. For example antidepressants, anxiety medications, depressants, antipsychotics, and stimulants have all proven helpful in specific cases. Each alter possesses different qualities. They might have different speech patterns, mannerisms, or altitudes. Physical properties also might differ, including right or left-handedness, allergies, a need for eyeglasses, etc. The amount of alters someone has could range from as little as two to as many as a hundred. However, the average is around ten. Every alter exists for a unique reason. Some are very social, while some are more introverted. In a child, one might serve the purpose of making sure grades are good, and one might take care of the social aspect. In an adult, one might take care of the kids, and one might serve as an outlet for a reckless side. Because of this, different alters are triggered by different things. Because usually only one personality can be present at one time, blackouts and time loss frequently occur. When the disorder takes hold of a person later in life, the most common complaint doctors get is amnesia. A person returns to full consciousness and has no idea what he has been doing or who they’re with. He might meet someone several times without remembering, as he has met them while an alter was in control. There are also patients suffering from DID who experience co-consciousness. Co-consciousness refers to the level of shared awareness of existence and behavior between the host personality and the alters. Alters can have opinions of one another and can form relationships.